In my research I’ve discovered that people with purpose are more satisfied with their lives, get more done in the areas that matter most, make a greater positive impact on the people around them, and actually live longer, healthier lives. Wouldn’t we all want some of that?
Why is why so important?
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain
Finding your why delivers a number of key benefits. Here are just a few:
- When you have a clear why, you strive to focus on what matters most and look for ways to minimize mediocrity – aka the distracting, low return stuff that gets in the way of achieving your why
- When you have a clear why, you will be happier and healthier – people are more satisfied with their lives when they are working on purpose then those without – we are actually wired this way
- When you have a clear why, it motivates you to do what needs to get done and you don’t give up after a few setbacks – you get up, dust yourself off, and take another step forward
- When you have a clear why, the people around you know where you stand and can trust what you are going to do – this makes a huge impact on your ability to influence others in a positive way
- When you have a clear why, you are able to keep your head during those times when everything around you is in turmoil, and this will draw others toward you
- When you have a clear, why you are on the path to making the world a better place – and that’s a great thing!
How to find your why
Now the question comes down to this – how do you find your why?
“Finding why is a process of discovery, not invention” – Simon Sinek from Start With Why
The key thing to remember is that finding why is a process of discovery, not invention. So don’t make the mistake of manufacturing or copying someone else’s why. You need to discover it for yourself. Take it slow. It will take some time to experiment and connect with what matters most.
Finding your why starts with the following question:
How can you help people?
This is the cornerstone of why. Don’t confuse this with finding your passion. Passion is selfish as it focuses on yourself. You are looking to discover your purpose. Purpose is asking the question: “how can I serve?”.
One of my favourite authors is John C Maxwell. In his book Intentional Living he shares 3 questions to help people discover their why:
1. What do you cry about?
What makes you upset? What pisses you off? What keeps you up at night? What injustice in the world needs a champion?
2. What do you sing about?
What makes you happy? What do you really enjoy doing? What makes your heart lighter? What keeps you grounded?
3. What do you dream about?
If you didn’t have to worry about earning money to make a living, how would you spend your time? What cool projects have you always wanted to start? What’s your big hairy audacious goal?
To find your why, you need to carve some time out of your busy schedule to reflect on the questions above. Spending just 20 minutes a day with a journal will start to flush out the answers to these questions. When you do, you will be well on your way to discovering your why.